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Grocer fined $54k for failure to pay unfair dismissal comp


Court finds Lismore-based health food store failed to comply with Fair Work orders.

By Philip King 9 minute read

The Fair Work Ombudsman has secured $54,264 in court penalties against the operators of a health food retailer in northern NSW for failing to pay compensation to two unfairly dismissed workers.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court imposed a $45,288 penalty on Lismore-based Rainbow Wholefoods and a further $8,976 penalty against company director and shareholder Anthony Stillone.

Rainbow Wholefoods admitted breaching the Fair Work Act 2009 by failing to comply with Fair Work Commission orders that required it to pay a total of $50,967.20 in compensation to two workers it had unfairly dismissed, with Mr Stillone involved in the contraventions.

In addition to the penalties, the court ordered Rainbow Wholefoods to pay the compensation in full to the two workers, who have received only partial payment to date.

In April 2021, the FWC found that in July 2020, Rainbow Wholefoods unfairly dismissed two workers – a manager and a shop assistant – it had employed since 2015 and 2018 respectively.

The FWC ordered the company to pay $31,280 compensation to the manager and $19,697.20 compensation to the shop assistant within three weeks.

The workers lodged requests for assistance with the Fair Work Ombudsman after the company failed to make the payments.

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated and attempted to secure voluntary compliance before commencing legal action in 2021.

Rainbow Wholefoods made part-payment of the compensation earlier this year but still owes the office manager more than $21,000 and the shop assistant more than $9,000.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said business operators that do not comply with Fair Work Commission orders need to be aware they can face court-imposed penalties on top of having to make any outstanding payments to workers.

“It is fundamental for the integrity of the workplace relations system that orders made by the Fair Work Commission are complied with,” Ms Parker said.

“We are prepared to take legal action to hold employers accountable and ensure employees receive compensation they are lawfully entitled to.”

“Any employees with concerns about their pay or entitlements should contact us for free advice and assistance.”


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Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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